Ethnicity and health disparities in alcohol research

Karen Chartier, Raul Caetano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

345 Scopus citations


Recent advances in alcohol research continue to build our understanding of alcohol consumption and related consequences for U.S. ethnic minority groups. National surveys show variations across ethnicities in drinking, alcohol use disorders, alcohol problems, and treatment use. Higher rates of high risk drinking among ethnic minorities are reported for Native Americans and Hispanics, although within ethnic group differences (e.g., gender, age group, and other subpopulations) also are evident for ethnicities. Whites and Native Americans have a greater risk for alcohol use disorders relative to other ethnic groups. However, once alcohol dependence occurs, Blacks and Hispanics experience higher rates than Whites of recurrent or persistent dependence. Furthermore, the consequences of drinking appear to be more profound for Native Americans, Hispanics, and Blacks. Disparities in alcohol treatment utilization are most apparent for Hispanics. Explanations for these differences are complex, likely affected by risky drinking behaviors, immigration experiences, racial/ethnic discrimination, economic and neighborhood disadvantage, and variations in alcohol metabolizing genes. Research must maintain a systematic, strong, and growing focus on ethnic minorities. A more complete understanding of these effects for ethnic minority groups is needed to enable researchers to face the challenges of reducing and ultimately eliminating health disparities in the alcohol field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-160
Number of pages9
JournalAlcohol Research and Health
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Alcohol treatment
  • Alcohol use disorders (AUD)
  • Drinking behavior
  • Ethnicity and alcohol consumption
  • Health disparities
  • Medical consequences of alcohol consumption
  • Risky drinking
  • Social and cultural factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethnicity and health disparities in alcohol research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this